The ex-chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil said that President Ghani’s team was in contact with Haqqani network during the 2014 presidential elections, therefore, he later amended a provision of the criminal code that was modifying the death penalty.
In a televised interview with TOLOnews, Mr. Nabil said the arrest of Anas Haqqani, one of the masterminds of Haqqani network, had angered some people in the national unity government.
“In the second round [of 2014 presidential election], some sort of relations were created between Dr. Ashraf Ghani’s team and Haqqani [network] because the elections went for a second round and there were serious and different discussions and even the Taliban later confessed that they had some type of understandings and I heard some credible words that they had cooperated with a certain team,” Mr. Nabil said.
“When Anas Haqqani was arrested, some friends in the national unity government were a little depressed that why it happened like this,” Mr. Nabil added. “There were letter exchanges and Siraj Haqqani had expressed his disappointment that we supported you and you arrested my brother.”
He said that “there is evidence [about it] at the National Directorate of Security”.
Anas Haqqani who is the youngest son of Jalaludin Haqqani, one of the brutal offshoots of the Taliban, became a central figure within the militant group after the death of his two brothers.
Mr. Nabil, meanwhile, suggested that President Ghani can remain in power as head of a “caretaker government” but he should not compete in the election.
“Mr. Ashraf Ghani can remain as head of the caretaker government and work on forging consensus while he is in the government, bring good cadres of Afghanistan forward and announce that he will not compete in the elections and he will bring peace to the people of Afghanistan,” said Nabil.
“Pakistan and the Taliban have the veto right when it comes to the peace process,” he said.
Mr. Nabil said he is ready to quit election if there is solid assurance that this will lead to restoring durable peace and security in the country, but clarified that foreign-made interim government never supports the interests of Afghanistan.
“I will resist the return of an Islamic emirate at any cost,” said Mr. Nabil when asked about whether he is ready to live under a Taliban government as a result of a peace deal.
According to Mr. Nabil, Pakistan has had a more effective role in the peace process with the Taliban than the Afghan government leaders.
“Afghanistan has been declared as exporter [of terrorism] in discussions between the US, Pakistan and the Taliban, and also the issue of sanctuaries has not been discussed at all,” he said, referring to the talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha.
Amid hopes and concerns about a peace deal with the Taliban, he stated that there is no assurance that the scenario of the past 40 years is not repeated on Afghans.
When asked about his involvement in the peace process as a candidate, Mr. Nabil said that even Afghan leaders are not involved in the peace process.
“If there is clarification about peace to the Afghan people, if the Afghans say that it is the time to move forward towards with peace if peace ensures the gains of the Islamic republic, then it is good to delay the election,” said Mr. Nabil.
“The question is that what the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will get out of a peace process, but I have strong reservations the way the peace process moved forward,” he said.
This comes a few days after the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in Kabul after wrapping up Doha talks, said the United States and the Taliban have reached an agreement in principle, but it is not final until the US President Trump agrees on it.
Talking to TOLOnews, Mr. Khalilzad said that based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Mr. Khalilzad told TOLOnews’ Lotfullah Najafizada just hours after he briefed Afghan leaders on his on a draft agreement between the US and the Taliban. “Of course, it is not final until the US president [Donald Trump] agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.”
But Nabil warned that the war will still continue in the county even if there is a peace deal with the Taliban.